No parent wants to be told that their child has some form of a mental or behavioral disorder. However, if such a diagnosis does happen, it is important for parents to be knowledgeable about the subject to best help their child and to help the entire family manage the disease and effects. The medical world acknowledges four basic different types of teen bipolar disorder.
Bipolar I disorder
In this disease, the manic phases are exaggerated and last at least one week followed by depressive phases lasting at least two weeks. A teen’s behaviors during these times are markedly different than “normal”.
Bipolar II disorder
With bipolar II, teens will switch back and forth from depressive episodes to what are called hypomanic episodes. That means that the manic phases are not as extreme as in bipolar I.
Bipolar disorder not otherwise specified
In teens that clearly exhibit manic and depressive episodes with behavior very out of character for them but not matching the specifications for bipolar I or II, BP-NOS is the diagnosis.
Also called Cyclothymia, this is a milder form of bipolar disease that is present for at least one year but with symptoms that do not meet the full requirements of a bipolar diagnosis.
Knowledge is power
Parents who suspect a mental illness in their teens should educate themselves about the different types of teen bipolar disorder to help identify the potential problem. This is the first step to securing the right help for a teenager suffering with this disease.